DONALD TRUMP probably attracts more column inches than he deserves, but this week, I feel compelled to throw in my two penneth on his latest behaviour. For a man who has a neck with more brass in than you would find at the average brass band convention, even he has surpassed himself.

In the wake of mail bombs being posted to several high-profile individuals who are regularly criticised by US conservatives – including Mr Trump – the president vowed to catch the perpetrator.

He continued his scripted speech to a rally in Wisconsin by calling on the media to end “constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories,” adding for good measure that: “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historic villains, which is done often.”

In case anyone was missing his very subtle point, he later tweeted another message, with his typical laid-back approach to the correct use of capital letters.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” said the president. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

This is the man who said of Senator John McCain, who was shot down while serving in Vietnam: “He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured.”

His repeated attacks on the media include describing several US outlets as “enemies of the American People”.

I quite agree that the tone of public debate needs to be raised – but that filters down from the top, and if he does not moderate his public statements, I’m not sure why he thinks anyone else would, or should.

This week in Northern Echo we criticised anonymous Tory MPs for talking of “knifing” Theresa May. Those words are symptomatic of the same problem. These are dangerously polarised times in politics and those elected to high public office should be putting out fires, not pouring petrol on them. Mr Trump should wind his (brass) neck in.

ON Thursday I had the honour of sitting on The Northern Echo Local Heroes judging panel for the first time – it was a little more intense than the days when as a trainee reporter I used to help score Search for a Star acts at a social club in east Yorkshire. I can’t wait for the awards night on December 6 to see some of the brilliant stories get the audience they deserve.

AND finally – an apology to anyone offended by a very unfortunate typo on page 44 of Thursday’s edition. Roadworks will see East Mount Road in Darlington closed for five days from today, we reported, continuing: “It will be sh*t at its junction with Haughton Road.”

For anyone caught up in the roadworks, I’m sure it will be, but no doubt Northern Gas Networks will do their best to keep disruption to a minimum while the road is closed.